I've recently gotten back into drawing/sketching and am wondering what copyright laws/guidelines/whatever would apply to realistic sketches of existing photographs. For example, I came across a photograph of an actor I like that I want to sketch. But I can't find who the photographer is. Also,I have an idea of adding in fantasy art elements to my sketch but keeping the rest pretty much exactly like the photograph.. When finished, I would like to display it on my digital portfolio on my website. I don't plan on selling prints, but would like the option of being able to do so if the demand arises.. Would that be allowed? Would the correct thing be to track down the photographer and ask permission? Or do the laws not apply since its a sketch and not a direct manipulation of the photograph?
Does anyone know?
Any advice/info from fellow artists would be appreciated!!
I don't think the copyright applies if you are sketching it since you are creating a unique piece.
If you were to print the photo and then draw on it, there might be copyright issues. You may want to check the laws in your country/state/territory in regards to copyright laws as they might be lax or strict.
In theory everything you make is copyrighted, but in practice, most people put it on their things if they really want to keep others from copying. So I think it's fine as long as there isn't a copyright sign on the picture. And it's not an exact copy you're doing....
But as Monika says, you should check your local laws.
Maybe you could try and google the image (with image search) to see if you can find the original image and thus also the photographer.
Laws are so confusing
Thank you both, though. I guess I need to do some heavy researching.
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